How Your Car’s AC Can Protect You from Pollution

Nobody enjoys their daily commute to and from work. For most, it involves way too many traffic jams and insanely long red lights. But there is another reason to dislike your drive to work that you might not know about. It is during this time that you experience most of your daily exposure to harmful pollutants that can contribute to heart disease and respiratory problems.

Despite the high concentrations of pollutants found on the road, there is something scientists have recently discovered that can help reduce your exposure. It turns out all you need to do is turn on your car’s air conditioner.

dunbarlawfirm.com

To reach this conclusion, scientists tested all the different combinations of air conditioner and fan settings inside vehicles while monitoring pollutants both inside and outside each car. They also tested levels in the car with the windows up and then down. In addition, they tested the pollution levels in various traffic conditions that are common for commuters, including being stuck behind a large diesel-powered vehicle, driving past construction work, stuck in highway traffic, and being stopped at a red light.

What the researchers found is that simply turning on the car’s air conditioner reduced pollutant levels inside the vehicle by up to 34%. This happens even though the air conditioner is pulling air from outside (where the pollutants come from). When the dirty air passes across the cold evaporator of the AC, the cold surface attracted the dirty particles in the air. Thus, they stuck to the evaporator surface instead of being pulled into the car, where a person could breathe them. This is why turning on the air conditioner is more effective at reducing in-car pollution that turning on the fan by itself, which runs the air through the same filter that the air conditioner uses.

AC systems also seemed to offer the most protection when following high-polluting vehicles like large trucks. When following such vehicles, air pollution outside the tested cars was three times higher than inside the car, as long as the air conditioner was on. The scientists also discovered that drivers could further minimize exposure by rolling down their windows once the truck or bus is no longer around. This allows any lingering buildup of pollutants in the car to dissipate. They also recommend rolling down windows for a period of time after exiting a congested freeway, an area that is another major source of pollutants.

If your car’s AC doesn’t work, though, don’t worry too much. The researchers also found that just keeping your windows closed when in heavy-pollution situations helped reduce in-car air pollution between 8 and 44%. Unfortunately, the scientists who conducted this study did not say what to do during the cold winter months, when running the air conditioner in your car is an impossibility.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • The unstoppable Iron Mike

    If you thought Iron Man was indestructible wait until you hear about Michael Malloy or Mike The Durable as his friends liked to call him. Malloy was a firefighter who lives in New York City during the 1920s but by 1933 he was homeless and had fallen deep into the clutches of alcoholism. You see...

    Read More
  • You Want To Live Forever? Start By Getting A Dog.

    Next time you find yourself screaming at your dog in anger because the young puppy chewed up your shoes, tore down your curtains or ruined your sofa, do keep this in mind: Buddy may actually be adding years on your life! In Sweden, researchers followed over 3 million people over the age of forty for...

    Read More
  • The Town That Respectfully Maintained The Grave Of A Toilet

    General George Smith Patton was a highly decorated senior officer of the United States Army, he is best known for commanding the U.S Third Army during the Allied liberation of Normandy in June 1944. His military exploits are well noted and documented, in fact, he is seen as one of the greatest war generals to...

    Read More
  • New Evidence Shows Menopause Treatment Not a Cancer Risk

    An exciting major new study has found that taking hormone replacement therapy to counter the symptoms of menopause does not increase a woman’s risk of early death. Researchers in the early 2000s discovered a link between women taking HRT for over five years and a higher risk of cancer. It even detailed how patients could...

    Read More
  • The Mysterious tale of Lucky Lord Lucan

    Some claim it to be one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th Century and when you dive into the story it really just begs the question - what in the world happened to Lucky Lord Lucan? On November 7, 1974, Lord Richard John Bingham the Seventh Earl of Lucan murdered his wife’s nanny by...

    Read More
  • A French Noblewoman Who Became a Ferocious Pirate Legend

    During the height of the Hundred Years War between England and France, one French noblewoman became feared throughout France for her ferocious never-ending appetite for revenge. Jeanne de Clisson with the help of the English outfitted three warships and caused havoc to any French ships crossing the English channel. Some may say privateer but at...

    Read More
  • The Native American Who Saved the Pilgrims

    Many of us are familiar with the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, but have you heard of Squanto, the Patuxet Native American from Cape Cod Bay that saved the Pilgrims from disease and disaster? Squanto was a young man when, in 1614, he was abducted by Spanish conquistadors. He was forcefully taken by ship back...

    Read More